Scots Score 28 Unanswered to Win 24th Straight Turkey Bowl

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The Monmouth College football team won their 24th straight Turkey Bowl and finished an 8-1 Midwest Conference slate on Saturday with a 42-7 win over Knox College. The Scots (8-2, 8-1) and IC finish with identical 8-1 MWC records but IC will represent the conference in the NCAA Playoffs by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Scots forced a fumble on the first Knox possession as Nick Serrano (Miami, Florida) knocked the ball loose and Tanner Tomaschke (Greenville, Illinois) recovered. Tomaschke returned the ball to the Knox 12 but a penalty on the return brought it back to the Monmouth 26. The Scots scored in three plays as Carter Boyer (Carthage, Illinois) hit Jackson Bergren (Monmouth, Illinois) down the Knox sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. Cody Szelc (Riverview, Florida) made the extra-point for a 7-0 lead. Both offenses struggled to move the ball for the rest of the quarter and the Scots turned the ball over on downs on the first play of the second quarter.

Anthony Cikauskas (Oswego, Illinois) forced and recovered a fumble on the next Knox drive but the Scots had to punt from the Knox 43. After a 3-and-out, the Scots took over on their own 42 and McKade Brooks (Astoria, Illinois) ran for a first down into Knox territory. Boyer hit Brendon Bishop (Sherman, Illinois) for 18 yards on 3rd-and-8 and Boyer ran for 14 yards and a first down inside the red zone. On 4th-and-1 from the Knox 5, Brooks scored and Szelc made the extra point for a 14-0 lead. That score held up as the halftime score.

Monmouth went 3-and-out on the first drive of the second half. Knox scored on two plays with a 57-yard touchdown run. The teams traded punts and Monmouth took over at their own 1-yard line. Brooksran for 16 and Boyer hit Nick Obsaint (Naples, Florida) for 38 yards into Knox territory. Two plays later, Boyer broke multiple tackles en route to the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead. Knox went backward on their next drive as Tomaschke had a sack and they took a delay of game penalty. Punting from their own 18, the snap went over the punter’s head and Monmouth took over on the Knox 3. Nate Wrublik (Lemont, Illinois) scored on the next play for a 28-7 lead.

Knox faked a punt on 4th-and-4 from their own 31 but lost 14 yards on the play as Monmouth took over on the Knox 17. Brooks ran four times on the drive, scoring from the 8-yard line for a 35-7 lead. Tomaschke forced a Knox fumble and Zane Beebe (Davenport, Iowa) recovered on the Knox 47. Boyer hit Nate Thornton (Peoria, Illinois) for 46 yards down to the Knox 1 on the final play of the third quarter.

Monmouth started the fourth with a trick play as lineman Derek Brown (Pekin, Illinois) reported as an eligible receiver. Boyer rolled right and threw back across the field to a wide open Brown and the 3-time All-MWC First-Team selection strolled into the end zone with his first career reception and score.

Tomaschke intercepted Knox on the next drive but while returning the ball down the field, he fumbled at the Monmouth 47 and Knox recovered. Cikauskas had a sack and Derek Chandler (Monmouth, Illinois) recovered a Knox fumble on the Monmouth 8. The Scots ran for a pair of first downs before kneeling down three times to secure another Turkey Bowl win.

Boyer completed 13-of-23 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 52 yards and a touchdown. Brooks ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns while Wrublik ran for 41 yards and a touchdown. Bergren caught four passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Serrano led the defense with a career-high 14 tackles while both Cikauskas and Tomaschke had nine. Cikauskas had two sacks while Tevin Baker (Kewanee, Illinois) had 1.5 and Tomaschke had one. Cikauskas also had 3.5 tackles for loss. Tomaschke had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

MONMOUTH MOMENTS: The all-time series is led by Monmouth, 74-50-10 with 24 straight winsKnox has scored seven points or less in five straight games and 10 points or less in 10 straight gamesMonmouth has topped 40 points in six of the last eight and scored at least 31 points in 20 straight Turkey Bowl winsThe Scots are 57-3 under Braun when allowing 20 points or lessMonmouth held Knox to 2-of-13 on 3rd down conversionsWith two touchdown passes, Boyer tied Mitch Tanney for fourth most (57) in school historyHe also passed Hayden Nelson for fifth most rushing yards (797) by a Monmouth quarterbackThornton tied Kyle Wantland for fourth on the receptions list with 136 career catchesHe also passed Evan Haffner for third on the receiving yards list with 2,430With 15 sacks on the season, Cikauskas has the second-most in school history, one behind Korbyn Personett’s record from 2021With five career forced fumbles, Cikauskas is tied for second in Monmouth historyHe also moved into seventh with 22 career sacksBaker moved into ninth on the career sacks list with 19Baker and Cikauskas are both top 10 on the career TFL list as wellCikauskas has 22 TFL on the season, four shy of Personett’s school record from 2021.

***Courtesy of Nathan Baliva, Monmouth College***

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